Baby Coughing At Night: What Should I Do


Probably every person ever experienced coughing at night. These coughs can be quite annoying since they won’t let us sleep.  Even worse, when a baby coughs at night you can rarely be sure what’s the problem, which makes diagnosing it even more difficult.

However, coughs and colds are usually common among young children, If your child is exposed to germs and is fighting them, it is only developing its immune system. You have to be there to help your child to feel more comfortable and understand the symptoms. Coughs are usually not threating, so you shouldn’t be panicking if your baby starts coughing at night.

What Causes Nighttime Cough?

Of course, you shouldn’t ignore your coughing baby. This condition shouldn’t be considered as normal, and you will notice that the cough will only worsen as the night comes (even more if your baby sleeps on its belly). The nighttime cough can indicate some health conditions you should pay attention to.

If you notice that your baby is coughing only at night, there are a few reasons for this. The caught is maybe triggered by mucus that’s running across the gag reflex. The other reason is if your baby is sick – the coughing is acting as a reflex in this case that clears the upper passages from congestion and mucus (throat included). Another cause may also by gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD. This disease allows the content of your baby’s belly to leak backward into the esophagus, which can lead to coughing.

The most important thing you have to establish is to check with your pediatrician if the cough is related to the lungs or not. You will notice that your baby has breathing problems if the cough is from the lungs. The muscles in between the ribs will contract with each breath and the abdomen will go in and out if the cough is related to the lungs. A baby coughing at night from lungs will also have problems with throat and nostrils.

If you can’t notice any visual signs, the cough is probably coming from the postnasal drip and it’s a sign that the body tries to keep the upper airways clear.

Keep in mind that some coughs may last up to two weeks, some even more. Don’t be surprised if there’s no cure for the cough your child has since many coughs are due to common viruses that we still don’t have a cure for. It’s always the best to offer your child comfort measures that you can provide from your own home, but keep in mind that you should consult with your doctor if a cough is extreme or if it has some other serious symptoms.

Home Remedies for Cough

To pick the best remedy for your child’s cough, you should carefully listen to the cough itself. Also, this is important so you can explain to your baby’s doctor what the problem is. Here are some cough variations:

  • Upper throat tight cough. This kind of caught may be due to swelling around the larynx or due to an infection.
  • Deep cough from the chest. Usually related to mucus in the airways.
  • Mild coughing and sniffing. Post-nasal drip is typically the cause of this cough.

A baby coughing at night should be relaxed, hydrated, and taken care of to sleep properly. Just stopping the cough won’t do much if other problems are still persistent.

Saline Nasal Drops

Some saline nasal drops are safe to use for young children. You can get some of them without a prescription, but it is always recommended to consult with your doctor first. These drops will help to soften mucus and your baby will remove it easier.

You have to follow the instructions on the bottle to use these nasal drops properly. If you can’t seem to get these drops in your toddler’s nose, you can put your child in a warm bath. This will also help with softening the mucus and clearing nasal passages. Also, it helps with preventing post-nasal drips.

If your toddler wakes up coughing, use the nasal drops. The good side of saline nasal drops is that they are considered safe generally.


You have to make sure that your child is hydrated when it is sick. Water helps a lot with keeping airways strong and moist, and it is also very important if your baby is fighting illness. Make your child drink enough water by giving them 7 ounces of water for every year of their life.  In short words, a one-year-old should be getting at least 7 ounces per day.

Younger children may need more water if they refuse their milk or if they can’t each much. You shouldn’t push your kids to drink the water, but offer it at least every hour or two. Popsicles are a good source of fluids too and they will usually soothe a sore throat.


Honey may help your coughing baby with its sore throat due to its antibacterial properties. However, keep in mind that you shouldn’t give honey if your child is younger than 1 because it may cause botulism.

Children older than one are free to take a spoonful of honey as often as they like, you just have to be aware of the amounts of sugar your child takes. Honey has a lot of sugar, so be careful. You can mix the honey with warm water to make it easier for your kid to consume it.

Sleeping Position

You maybe heard somewhere that babies under 18 months shouldn’t sleep on pillows.  This is a general rule of thumb and you should follow it.

Your older toddler might have problems with falling asleep on a pillow, especially if your kid is usually moving a lot while sleeping. However, try elevating your little one’s head since this method is known to help with the cough. A baby coughing at night will move a lot, so you will have to stay awake for as long as you need to to keep your child’s head on a pillow.

Moisture and Humidifiers


If you add moisture to the air your child’s airways won’t be dry and its mucus will be easier to remove. This may help with congestion and coughing.

Keep in mind to choose a cold air baby humidifier. This type of humidifier is a lot safer for children, but it still has the same effects as warm air humidifiers. Use distilled or purified water if you’re able. The mineral buildup process will be slowed down by doing this.

Use the humidifier in a room where your baby sleeps at night.

Cold Air Walk

Take your child for a walk if it is cold outside. This might sound strange to you, but the power of fresh air is really good for relieving cough symptoms. Of course, you will dress your child properly to withstand the temperature. Those few minutes outside might be really helpful.

You don’t want to exhaust your coughing baby, but there are a lot of stories telling that cold air helps with coughs. Some parents report that they open freezer doors and let their child breathe in the cold air there. Also, if you’re not sure about this kind of remedy, consult with your doctor.

Vapor Rub

There’s no formal evidence showing that vapor rubs with menthol or camphor have any benefits. However, caretakers are using this technique for generations now. The balm is usually rubbed on children’s feet and chest.

Be careful though since some pediatricians suggest that this kind of remedy might increase mucus. Make sure you consult with your pediatricians before you use any vapor rub. If you, however, decide to use it, but the balm on your child’s feet instead of on chest since this is considered to be a safer way.

Never put the vapor rub under your child’s nose or on a child’s face. And also, remember that babies under two shouldn’t get in contact with any vapor rub.

Baby Planet Overview

It can be really hard when you have a baby that’s coughs at night. You as a parent will have restless nights, and your baby will be in pain trying to fight off whatever is bothering her. However, there are always remedies that might help to fight this annoying condition. There is usually no reason to worry if your child has a nighttime cough, but you always want to consult with your doctor to make sure that it’s nothing serious.

Home remedies are particularly good when it comes to treating cough, and you can try many of them on your own – just make sure you’re doing everything properly. If the cough is persistent make sure you visit a doctor to get more help and to make sure there are no serious health problems that might cause nighttime cough. Don’t force your child to take medication if the doctor didn’t say it is necessary.

More Baby Reviews:


  1. Acute Cough in Children  ,
Hello Mother's and Father's of the world. My name is Sarah Nielsen is this is my passion, as I am a mother of two beautiful babies and they are my world. Also I love blogging and sharing my experiences of what has worked for me when raising my kids. When I'm not juggling the madness at home, or working on my blog. You will find me product researching and keeping the site freshly updated with the latest baby gear and helpful articles for my readers!